Saturday 17 October 2009

The thick end of the wedge

There's no money in county cricket. Everyone knows that. Or rather, everyone did know that. Things ain't what they used to be, even at the bottom of LV Division Two, as Gus Fraser, newly appointed Director of Cricket at Middlesex, discovered during his first season.

'It's certainly a different game to the one I left in 2002,' he said in a nice interview with Andy Afford in All Out Cricket magazine. 'The players are far more demanding than they used to be, and their expectations for themselves and everyone else are far higher. At times you wish they would just concentrate on what they are supposed to do well'.

Good to hear it's all hunky-dory down at Lord's, then.

'There is a bit of a culture of players wanting to know where the club is going before committing their future. There is an expectation that the club should be out there signing up all these wonderful names... For instance, do you sign a 'name' overseas coach in order to placate the players, media etc? The problem is, in doing that, you're probably waving goodbye to the thick end of 200k...'

'...And how much is an overseas player going to help the club when he is likely to be there for a four to six week period. The challenge then is to find someone below that 'superstar' level. Someone who wants to play for you and is available all year...'

Someone like Marcus Trescothick, maybe, interviewed a few pages later by Afford again. 'At the moment, in-demand players with big names and reputations are being touted around, expecting salaries of 80-120k,' Afford writes. 'As a point of reference, I send some hypothetical text messages out to county managers and coaches. My text reads, 'hypothetically, what price Tres...?' 

The average price? £175,000 per season. And, as Afford notes, 'he would be worth every penny'.

Wonder if one of his messages was sent to Gus? 


Mark said...

'Players are more demanding than they used to be' - A step up, then, from the old tug of the forelock and undue deference to a captain who was appointed on the basis of his posh accent and, more importantly, amateur status.

The Old Batsman said...

To be fair, I don't think even Gus was playing that long ago...!

Mark said...

But don't forget he played for Middlesex...

Cricket Betting Blog said...

Your basically limited in the search for an influential overseas player these days as your post says.

You can either find a young up and coming player, one where his board of control is happy to send him to England for a year of the so-called 'finishing school' or to take a player who is retired or semi-retired (in my opinion, the better option) from international cricket such as Justin Langer or Shane Warne.

It would appear not to be that difficult to pick up a bloke for a few weeks of the season - one who perhaps needs to warm up for a tour - but how much is he going to contribute to the long term aims of that county?

He might come in and score a few runs or take a lot of wickets and be of some learning advantage to youngsters around the county.

But is he going to be as influential as a Warne or Langer who were at their respective counties for a full season at a time, in the time they have been at Hamshire and Somerset the results improved and since Warne left Hampshire the demise has been notable.

It shows the value of getting an overseas player who is prepared to put in a full season and really get involved in the day-to-day things and work with players on being more positive and their techniques.

On the negative side I'd imagine they don't come cheap and it is starting to look like only the bigger counties can really afford players of that ilk.

Wonder what Yorkshire - who seem to be pleading poverty - will do with the Hoggard cash they saved?